we lived in a small mountainpass village in india. seeping summerheat and life hung in the air; oranges and reds color-reflected all the joy and feverish emotions. naomi and i tended to the smaller animals and stayed with the smallest children. we had our duckling herd, who followed at naomis heels. i had sewn together bands of feathers and tied them to her ankles when they were born and had imprinted on her.. there were also fat rabbits and one particularly obese cat who seemed to be ours and we had jokingly named ganesha because of its elephant-size. there were a few others that had come with us (the most distinct face is hildi), but most of my interactions were kept to animals and babes and my sister. we were caught in the minute details and workings of the village and had gone from being foreigners to contributing and accepted. we had no past, we accepted the future and lived for the present; keeping to simple ways that the village mothers instilled in us under the vedic goddess - aditi. it was close and familiar and too beautiful for words. swallowed and kept safe in the belly of mountains; snug in simple living.
then darkness started saturating slowly; drip by drip.
reinier was.. he was caught up in documenting something with the village that forced him to be away often. we all had our roles, and met in the middle in love and understanding. still, issues with what information was being gathered was bubbling under the surface; never being discussed with the women. it was mostly out of protection, and maybe some denial. things finally came to a head when three european men came. they were all pleasant, and distinctly french. naomi and i were really curious about news from the outside since we were essentially cut off from information flows for months at a time. they all sort of skimmed over topical events, but it felt like they were hiding something. the youngest of the three became more directly involved in a friendship with us and eventually told us that they had come to the mountains seeking refuge until they could safely get out of india; and apparently reinier was trying to get all of our visa's processed as well to get the group out (not known to us). our friend had some news about global border shutdowns as a result of -----, and a tremendous antisemitic backlash. most E.U. citizens were okay despite border troubles, except the trio fell into the french-jewish category and had been unaware of the visa problems they were going to encounter since they had been nomads for the last year in asia.
india was one of the last countries effected by -----, and the urban centers were now just outbursts of violence. everything was in flames.
the mountains were our refuge, but no one knew for just how long.
seasons changed. we saw less of reinier and some of the other men in our traveling 'family'.the winter was settling and making death and transition known to us all; our colors were fading. more and more unbending foreigners were taking toll on our microsociety and we couldn't sustain everything and everyone.
especially now with the unbalance of having people who knew nothing of agri-life and had little respect for the way things had to be done to keep harmony. our solidarity was eroding under the pressure of strangers. even technology had resurged in our lives, and at some point there was a hut built as a small cinematheque.. the new arrivals wanted creaturecomforts. even though we were hesitant, we still go to lay on the floor with blankets to watch films projected on a large undyed tapestry.
it's on one of these nights that we're uprooted after reinier and the frenchie return; looking more more haggard each time they come home.
the move is devestating, particularly to us and the other women, who had become embedded in this place. the villagers had decided long before not to leave, and although things are uncertain its the only path they can accept. still, there's mothers who had entrusted many of us with the lives of their babes. naomi and i both leave with a child on hip and at hand. there's love and encouragement from old teachers, and most of us have now stepped fully into the role as mothers.
it's a midnight exodus through the mountains, and when we're finally 'safe' from exposure to bitter cold and at the train station it's then we realize we're mankind's refugees. there's no game plan, and no safe haven anymore.
we're back in chaos and tumult and our only chance at survival is nomadic life.
we're crossing the collapsed mountain border on an overpacked train with viciously corrupt 'officials'. the colors are gone and its all greys and inky blues. simply trying to keep to each other; to not lose hope and keep our fire going.
we, the women, have already decided as bhutan being our best hope but we'll have to make the crossing on foot from our stop in nepal.
the last bit becomes a haze of a strife while on the train, reinier and his camera come under question, the youngest frenchie comes under fire for his obvious jewish heritage. one of the attack dog officials pistolwhips him and ----
i woke up. bathing in sun and sweat.